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PTSD and separation anxiety children post-pandemic

How to help your child with trauma during COVID-19
Posted at 6:39 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 19:39:09-04

OMAHA, Neb. — The pandemic has affected children in many different ways - no school, no group sports, and a lot of time being spent at home. We're seeing the impact on them now, but what about after the pandemic?

With children spending most of their time at home in quarantine, parents have become their educators and best friends.

"I'm amazed at how many hats parents are being asked to wear right now just in terms or responsibilities," UNMC assistant professor of psychiatry Katrina Cordts said.

Parents also have to deal with the daunting task of explaining the pandemic to their children. However, it's hard for kids to understand why they can't see their friends or go back to school. Once the pandemic is over, re-adjusting back into society after spending so much time with family may also cause stress and separation anxiety for children. But parents can prepare for something like that, and help their children heal.

"The best way to prepare them is to have that structure, routine and consistency," Cordts said.

Having a set routine and keeping busy with activities can help with structure post-pandemic, to help minimize possible PTSD or other mental health issues in the future. Speaking with your children about the pandemic and helping to answer their questions is also key. It's important to limit their exposure to news about COVID-19 as well, so children don't become overwhelmed.

"I don't think we can say though exactly who's going to be affected and how in the future. I think the situation is constantly evolving and changing and so it's just good to be mindful that we should be tracking these things and intervening early," Cordts said.